At the request of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Sofia, the Bulgarian General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) today arrested three people and searched six addresses as part of an investigation into an organized crime group that allegedly obtained illegal funds from agricultural funds. This was announced by the office of Laura Koveschi.
Based on the investigative actions carried out by GDBOP and DANS and the seized evidence and documents, it is established that the suspects provided false information on behalf of other persons to the competent authorities. The goal was to obtain agricultural financing.
According to the evidence, instead of applying for agricultural funds for a large piece of land, the organized crime group divided it into smaller plots. They are alleged to have subsequently used persons of low socio-economic status as proxies to submit applications for agricultural subsidies.
The leader of the organized criminal group was authorized by the impersonators to act as their representative before the State Fund “Agriculture” and the Regional Service for Agriculture of Bulgaria, as well as before the commercial banks. This means that he was able to directly take the EU agricultural funds they applied for and get full control over the projects.
The investigation also indicates that two officials from the DF “Agriculture” and the Regional Directorate may have participated as members of the organized criminal group. They are believed to have assisted the group’s activities by providing information and consultations related to the relevant operational program and subsequent inspections during the implementation of the projects.